When the folks at Parent Bloggers Network offered me a chance to review James Lehman’s Total Transformation Program I leapt at the chance. I had heard his 30-minute infomercial on the radio and thought it sounded interesting.
The Total Transformation® Program was created by behavioral therapist James Lehman to offer parents practical, real world solutions for children who are defiant, disrespectful, who lie and curse at their parents, act out in school, and so on.
My kids are pretty good kids. In fact, Nathan and Lucie are fairly well behaved for other people and most of the time for us. However, Nathan has several problems that I refer to as “lacking a moral compass.” He lies, he’s totally unmotivated about school and doing anything around the house. He’s forever bothering his sister just because he has nothing else better to do. He's overly self-centered and only cares about being entertained. When he does do something, whether it’s cleaning his room, picking berries in the yard, or his homework, it’s always done in what my husband and I call a “half-assed production.” If there’s a shortcut or minimal way to do something, Nathan will do it that way. Finally, he’s disrespectful at times and lacks focus.
The Total Transformation Program couldn’t have come at a better time. We’ve been having a tough time with Nathan already this year at school. He zooms through his school work, and turns in sloppy, half done work. His teacher knows he’s smart enough to do the work, but wonders if he should be put in a lower class for language arts. We think it’s focus, motivation and a work ethic issue.
What the Total Transformation Program is about
So far, I’ve watched the Quick Start DVD and have done three weeks worth of lessons. Mr. Lehman suggests that you do a lesson a week. There are seven in all. The lessons start with a pretest in the workbook, go to an audio lesson on CD, and then finish up with workbook exercises.
What’s interesting about the Total Transformation Program is Lehman’s way of looking at kids’ problems. He believes that kids don’t have the skills they need to deal with things and problem solve, and so they act out. In turn, parents need to develop effective parenting skills to teach their children the skills they need to get through life.
I like how the program helps you identify your child’s characteristics as well as problem parenting styles like the Screamer (that’s me, darn it), the Negotiator and the Ticket Puncher. Then he teaches you about developing a culture of accountability in the home. Lessons four through seven cover subjects like changing your child’s behavior by using transformation tools and what to do when your child acts out.
One of the criticisms I have about the program is that it takes a long time – seven weeks – to get through it. The first three weeks seem more about how you and your child think and act than about changing it. You have to be patient enough to wait for weeks four through seven to work on action items. So I really haven't seen much change in Nathan's behavior. But I have thought differently about how I approach his problems.
Still, the program makes a lot of sense, and seems practical and down to earth, so I’m looking forward to doing the next four lessons and trying to get Nathan to act the way we want him to at school, with his sister, and at home.
One bit of advice I have for you is to plan the same time each week to work on the program – and put it on your calendar. I’ve been very busy the past few weeks and I’m traveling next week. It’s been hard to squeeze it in and there’s been a few times when I forgot to do the lesson and was a few days late in getting back on track.
The big killer is the price. It’s $327 and there’s shipping, too. However, the program is guaranteed to work for you or your money back. You pay only $19.00 for shipping and handling ($25 to Canadian destinations). If, and only if, you decide to keep the Total Transformation Program after the completion of the 30-Day Free Program Trial, the cost is three monthly payments of $109.00.
You can also sign up for the Parental Support Line, which is $1 for the first 30 days, and $29 per month after that.
Is it worth it? It’s hard to say since every family and child is different. This may be the solution for your problems or maybe you need extra-heavy duty, professional help. Still, with a 30-day free trial, it may be the answer you’re looking for.
If you want to check out James Lehman and what he has to offer, sign up for his Empowering Parents enewsletter. (Sign up is on the bottom of the page.)
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